Tom Coughlin, winning coach of Super Bowl XLII, has had a long and distinguished coaching career. Always known as a hard nosed disciplinarian, Coughlin’s tough outer shell has also earned him much respect and devotion from a select group of players.
Coughlin played wingback at Syracuse University in the late 1960’s where he set the school record for number of passes caught in a season. In college he was a teammate of the great Larry Csonka. Upon graduating from Syracuse and serving one year as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater, Coughlin received his first head coaching position at Rochester Institute of Technology where he stayed from 1970 to 1973. With his success there, he found his way back to Syracuse University where he served as the quarterbacks coach from 1974 to 1975 and then as offensive coordinator from 1976 to 1980. From 1981 to 1983, Tom Coughlin was employed as the quarterbacks coach at Boston College where he coached Doug Flutie.
In 1984, Coughlin made the jump to professional football by becoming the wide receivers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1984 to 1985, before filling the same position with the Green Bay Packers from 1986 to 1987, and then with the New York Giants under head coach Bill Parcells from 1988 to 1990. In 1991, Tom Coughlin returned to the ranks of head coaches when he also returned to Boston College. He coached Boston College for three seasons from 1991 to 1993 before the National Football League came calling again.
Tom Coughlin became the first head coach of the NFL expansion franchise Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. The Jaguars became the most successful of any expansion franchise in history when they reached the AFC Championship game in just their second season. Coughlin would return his Jaguars to the AFC Championship game in 1999 after posting a 14-2 record. After eight seasons in Jacksonville, Coughlin was fired from a team he helped to build from nothing. Coughlin sat out the 2003 season, but returned in 2004 as the head coach of the New York Giants, the same team he had served as wide receivers coach a decade and a half earlier. Coughlin had turned Boston College around, built up Jacksonville from nothing, and great hopes were held for his stint in New York. In Coughlin’s second season in New York, the Giants under second year quarterback Eli Manning went 11-5 and won their division. The Giants took a down turn in 2006 with the announcement that it would be the last season for star running back Tiki Barber who announced his retirement. The 2006 Giants barely made the playoffs in what many thought might be Coughlin’s last year with the team.
In January of 2007, Tom Coughlin was given a one year extension as head coach of the New York Giants. The team he would be leading would be without their star running back, would lose their starting tight end for the bulk of the season, and would start the season with two consecutive losses. The Giants would win the next six games and despite having a home record of 3-5 during the 2007 season, the Giants would make the playoffs on the strength of their 7-1 road record. The Giants would build on this tremendous road winning streak by winning three consecutive road playoff games and making it to the Super Bowl. Only two previous teams had done this, the 1985 Patriots who lost to the Bears, and the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers who defeated the Seattle Seahawks and became World Champions. The 2007 New York Giants would defeat the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl to become World Champions themselves. The Patriots were favored by any where from 12 to 15 points in the game, and this will go down as one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
Tom Coughlin has definitely put his time in, with the exception of one season, coaching continuously from 1970 to 2007. He finally achieved the ultimate goal of every coach with a Super Bowl title in 2007.